The course will describe how ecological factors play an important role in animal health. For example the gain and loss of strains from a host, within host population dynamics, e.g. competition, and among host dynamics, e.g. transmission. Transmission will be examined in the light of many recent studies looking at how social networks are important determinants of disease transmission in a population. Many of these questions will be addressed looking at individual bacterial species and a variety of hosts, both human and animal.
The course will also look at the animal microbial communities, and their role in nutrition, disease prevention, and as a cause of disease. The course would include topics related to the diversity of host associated microbial communities, including the factors affecting the composition and stability of these communities.
The course will include a significant section on the evolution of bacterial genomes and accessory elements, in particular the evolution of virulence and bacterial adaptation. The course would emphasise the fact that bacteria evolve in ‘real time’ as it were and that new pathogens are continually emerging. For example, the newly evolved E. coli intestinal pathogen that caused disease outbreaks in Europe.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
On satisfying the requirements of this course, student will have the knowledge and skills to:
1. Investigate the processes responsible for shaping the clonal composition of a bacterial species as well as the bacterial community composition within a host.
2. Critically evaluate how the human gut microbiota influences human health.
3. Critically evaluate how spatial relationships and social interactions determine bacterial transmission among hosts.
4. Investigate and analyse quantitatively the processes that underlie bacterial genome evolution.
5. Apply a range of bioinformatics techniques used in comparative genomics.
6. Employ high order laboratory techniques.
Indicative AssessmentAssessment will be based on:
- 70% Final practical report (LO-1-5)
- 30% Final examination (LO 1-5)
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Workload2 Lectures per week and a 3-hour practical per week.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Assumed KnowledgeHave completed 1st and 2nd year biology courses and completion of 96 units toward a degree
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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